Appealing to Sense and Sensibility: System 1 and System 2 Interventions for Fake News on Social Media

33 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2018

See all articles by Patricia Moravec

Patricia Moravec

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business; Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Operation & Decision Technologies

Antino Kim

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Operation & Decision Technologies

Alan R. Dennis

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Operation & Decision Technologies

Date Written: October 19, 2018

Abstract

Misinformation on social media—commonly called “fake news”—has become a major concern around the world, and many fact-checking initiatives have been launched to mitigate the problem. The way fact-checking results are presented to social media users is important because if the presentation format is not persuasive, fact checking may have little effect. Facebook implemented fact-checking in 2017 but concluded that flagging dubious articles had no effect on users’ beliefs and subsequently removed the feature. We conducted an experiment with 397 social media users to investigate two different approaches to designing a fake flag, one designed to trigger automatic cognition (System 1) and the other, deliberate cognition (System 2). We found that both interventions were effective, and an intervention that combined both approaches was about twice as effective. We also found that awareness training on the meaning of the flags increased the effectiveness of the System 2 flag, but not the System 1 flag, exactly as theory predicts. Believability, in turn, influenced the extent to which users would engage with the article (e.g., read, like, comment, and share). Our results suggest that both theoretical routes can be used—separately or together—in the presentation of fact-checking results to social media users. These interventions can nudge users to evaluate articles more critically and make more informed decisions when interacting with them.

Suggested Citation

Moravec, Patricia and Kim, Antino and Dennis, Alan R., Appealing to Sense and Sensibility: System 1 and System 2 Interventions for Fake News on Social Media (October 19, 2018). Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 18-88. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3269902 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3269902

Patricia Moravec (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Operation & Decision Technologies ( email )

Business 670
1309 E. Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47401
United States

Antino Kim

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Operation & Decision Technologies ( email )

Business 670
1309 E. Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47401
United States
812.855.2905 (Phone)

Alan R. Dennis

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Operation & Decision Technologies ( email )

Business 670
1309 E. Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47401
United States

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